Rima sighed as she slowly pulled a stick of Pocky out of the little red box. It had been three days since Shiki's collapse in class, three days since Aido had last been seen. They had all inquired of Kain as to where Aido had gone and the best anyone had gotten was, "He's gone to a place only he can come back from." That answer was not reassuring. But then, Kain obviously knew where he was and that was reassuring.

As for Shiki...When Rima had gotten back from class she had poked her head into Shiki's room and found Takuma sitting backwards in a chair next to Shiki's bed. While some people would have found it creepy that Takuma was watching Shiki sleep, Rima found it cute. She knew how the two felt towards each other. Besides, if it hadn't been for Takuma's help, Shiki would already be dead. Kaname would have killed him long ago, when he had first showed up possessed by his crazy father.

So she had let them be. She had gently set a box of Pocky on the ground by the door and silently walked out, unnoticed by either of them. She had left them to their quiet whispering, to their gentle, shy, touches. She had left them.

Now she sat alone in her room, quietly eating Pocky and watching the rain pound on the window and watching the moon move across the sky behind the clouds. She softly shook her head, refusing to let the loneliness get to her. She slowly stood up and walked over to the window, softly pushing it open and letting the rain pour onto her face. Rima then closed her eyes and listened to the rain as it poured down.

As she stood there listening to the rain, she heard an odd noise. She opened her eyes and put her hand over her eyes, shielding them from the rain so that she could look over the campus grounds. As her eyes searched the grounds with a vampire's keen vision, she saw an odd sight. As she watched the scene unfold, she felt herself pale. After a full minute of watching the horrifying scene, she threw her arms out and pushed herself out of the window, jumping down from her second story window. She landed gracefully on her feet on the grass, wobbling but holding her balance. After a second a pain shot up her right ankle and she winced in pain. But she shook her ankle gracefully and started to run, running towards the scene she had seen from her window.

When she got there she gasped at the carnage.

Shiki was lying face down in the mud, blood trailing down from his ear and neck. Had it not been for the blood, Rima would've thought that he had simply fallen asleep. But the blood poured in great streams, mixing with the mud and turning it a dark maroon color. Her wide blue eyes slowly moved up Shiki's body and onto the body across from him.

Aido laid in much the same condition, the only difference being that the blood appeared to be coming from under him as well at his neck and ear. She gasped and fell to her knees, her legs unable to hold her up any longer. She slowly started to reach one hand out to Shiki, to check and see if he was alive, to see if she could save them. As her hand slowly neared his neck there was a crash and loud BANG! and then screaming, screaming, screaming...

"Rima-chan! Rima-chan! Wake up! It's only a dream!" A firm pair of arms shook her, causing her wet hair to flop in front of her eyes.

Rima blinked and rubbed her throat softly with one hand. She locked eyes with Takuma and softly whispered, "A nightmare...But it felt so real." She looked at Takuma, her eyes asking the question she could not put into words.

"I was in the hallway and heard you screaming. We all did. I thought something terrible had happened. I ran in here and found you half way out your window, as if you were going after something. I pulled you in and shook you. You were screaming Senri's name, over and over. Did you have a nightmare about Senri?" He loosened his hold on her shoulders and delicately led her to a chair, gently pushing her into it. "Are you going to be alright?"

"I...I think so. I should be ok. I...It was just a nightmare. All of it...All of it, just a nightmare. Must have fallen asleep watching the rain fall. My apologies, Takuma-kun." She accepted the blanket he offered her and wrapped it around herself, shivering. 'Was all that really just a nightmare? It felt so real, it smelled real. I've had nightmares before, but never quite like that. Never that vivid.' She thought to herself.

"You sure you'll be ok? I'm sure none of us will mind sitting with you."

"'Us'? Who is 'Us'?"

"The other aristocrats. Kain and Ruka are standing outside, waiting to see if you're alright. Seiren went to get Kaname-sama."

Rima groaned softly. "She really didn't have to do that. I'm fine. There's no reason to worry Kaname-sama."

Takuma smiled softly. "You're one of his inner circle. That's reason enough to worry him."

"Fine, but you get to explain that you're the one who told Seiren to go get him."

Takuma just laughed.


"Is she alright? Did someone attack her?"

Takuma smiled as he glanced at the pale red head. "She's fine. She had a nightmare and got a little spooked, that's all." He quietly shut the door and strode over to the bed, sitting softly on the end of it. "You really shouldn't be sitting up you know. You're not well."

"I'm fine Takuma. It was just a one time thing, it won't happen again." Shiki said with certainty.

Takuma sighed, relenting. He knew he wouldn't win this fight and Shiki really didn't need the added stress...So he just let it go. "Will you join us for dinner then?" Takuma questioned as he softly drew a circle in the sheets.

"I'd love to. Takuma, you really are worrying too much." Shiki smiled softly, his blue twinkling. "If I was in any imminent danger, I would tell you."

Takuma sighed dramatically. "Yes, I know. You tell me everything else, so why should I doubt this one small thing?" He stood up and offered a hand to Shiki. "Well then. If you're coming to dinner you have to be clean and fresh. So let's go. You are about to get one of the best scrubs of your life."

"I think I can wash myself Takuma." Shiki grumbled as he took the proffered hand.

Takuma blushed a deep crimson and wished deeply that he hadn't said anything. 'Why did I say that? Why? He's clearly not ready for us to advance to that stage yet...Hell, I'm not even ready! But...That doesn't mean I don't want it.'

"Takuma? Are you alright?"

"Hu, what? Yeah, I'm fine. Don't worry about me. Let me help you into the shower and I'll leave you be, ok? I'm sorry about what I said..." He felt heat rise and color his face and looked down at the floor.

"I...Don't...Ok." Shiki blushed and glanced down, then walked over to a dresser. There was nothing he could do for Takuma. He didn't know how to comfort him. Hell, he wasn't even sure why Takuma needed comforting. But he had the odd feeling that whatever he did in the next few moments would alter his life for a long, long, time.

"Takuma? Will...Will you stay in the bathroom and talk to me while I wash? I...I don't really want to be alone. I'm..." Shiki hesitated, unsure if he really wanted to admit this. But he took a deep breath and pushed on while he still had the courage. "I'm scared to be alone. I'm not altogether sure that I am better. Will you take care of me just a bit longer?" He felt his heat wash over his face and then turned away, too embarrassed to say more.

Takuma stared at him for a long, long, moment before saying anything. When he finally did say something, it was slow and hesitant. "Yes...I'll stay with you. I'm...I'm glad you trust me enough to admit your own frailty to me. Thank you, Senri." He smiled at the younger boy and felt his heart start to beat wildly.

Shiki smiled and bowed his head, his face slowly cooling down. "I'd better hurry though, or we're going to be late to dinner."

Takuma laughed and walked over to Shiki. "Yeah, I guess that is true, hu? Come on then. I'll help you out."


"Where are they? They're late!" Snarled Ruka. She glanced over at Kain, who was staring at a painting over the fireplace.

"I'm sure they'll be down any minute, just calm down." He picked up his glass of red wine and spared Ruka one soft glance before going back to staring at the painting again.

"Akatsuki ..." Ruka started, her voice soft and laced with concern. "Akatsuki...Where's Hanabusa? Shouldn't he be down here? He hasn't been down for a meal in three days...Aren't you worried?"

"No. I take him meals every day, and I make sure he eats at least a little bit of it. Right now, he doesn't want to come down to meals. He'll come down when he's ready." He gently swished the glass of wine and sighed. "Hopefully that's fairly soon..." He muttered softly.

Ruka, positive Kain hadn't meant for her to hear that last part, kept silent and turned inward, trying to figure out if she had missed something. Kain hadn't even told her what had happened to Hanabusa. But as she thought about it harder, she recalled not seeing Hanabusa come back to the dorms at the same time everyone else did three nights ago...Had something happened to him? But what did the warning Kain had given earlier this morning mean? 'He's gone to a place only he can come back from.'

Ruka frowned and put her chin on her hand, determined to figure this out.